Viability analysis for desert settlement and economy: The Transport & Mobility Interface

Viability analysis for desert settlement and economy: The Transport & Mobility Interface Project Resources

DKCRC Working Paper

  • Author(s): Pleshet, N
  • Published: 2006
  • Publisher: Desert Knowledge CRC
  • Volume: 02

Abstract: This paper, which builds on Working Paper 1 – Value in and of Desert Australia, is an empirically focused contribution to the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK-CRC) analysis of desert settlement viability. It examines the interface between population mobility and land transport systems, a relationship that is fundamental to economic activity in desert settlements. To this end, the paper draws on analyses of population mobility amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in central Australia. It also incorporates data on vehicles and road maintenance, and studies of remote transport schemes. Together these different resources show (i) that Indigenous mobility and vehicle use in central Australia are distinct from non-Indigenous patterns; and (ii) that while access to motorised transport has facilitated the elaboration and extended reach of certain Indigenous activities, it may not have facilitated enhanced wellbeing. Recent data suggests that there is an exceptionally high quantity of unregistered cars, and people per vehicle, in the Alice Springs hinterland. Extensive automobility that relies on unsafe vehicles, and unsafe use patterns, results in high rates of traffic-related infringements and fatalities throughout central Australia. These conditions directly affect the capacity of Indigenous people to continue living in dispersed desert settlements. It seems clear that desert settlement viability is unlikely to be sustained without interventions which improve Indigenous access to transport, and which generate opportunities to be involved as employees and producers in transport services.

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